Boris wants the skinny
I am multi-tasking – football on the phone beside me, laptop open for business. Manchester United currently winning 6-2.
I am writing to tell you I have heard the Prime Minister is going to hold a half hour Zoom meeting with some campaigning Subpostmasters tomorrow afternoon. It is apparently to “find out what you want”.
I have been contacted by at least four people who have been asked if they would like to attend. I do not know what the criteria for attendance is, how many people have been invited/will attend, or if the meeting will happen at all. However it seems significant.
We generally know what the campaigners want – proper compensation and people held responsible. Neither are on the table from the government. I would be amazed if the government changes its position tomorrow, but this might form the basis of the first steps towards a shift. We’ll see.
On the media front I understand there are going to be quite a few Post Office-related announcements tomorrow. They don’t mean much in the general scheme of things but they are quite exciting to me. One I might not be allowed to tell you about yet is that The Great Post Office Trial Radio 4 series will become an official podcast soon. This means we can put it on Spotify and iTunes etc and make the episodes slightly longer. It’s not a massive deal as the series is of course still available on BBC Sounds, but it does mean it could reach a huge audience which doesn’t use or know about BBC Sounds, or even the BBC.
The one I am definitely allowed to tell you about is that my book The Great Post Office Scandal goes on formal pre-sale tomorrow. As you can see, we have a cover, and I have a special button which goes to the publisher’s website (which I won’t put in this email until I’ve tested it).
The Amazon link sort of seems to work but it looks a bit ropey at the moment. I’ll see if we can tidy it up. Don’t share it to anyone yet. And I don’t seem to be able to add myself as the author, which is odd.
Either way this brings to an end my second and likely final crowdfunding period. I will keep the tip jar active, but steer all the links away from it and towards the book (once the links are tidier).
I am deeply grateful to everyone on this newsletter for however much you have given. It has made me so grateful that there are people who care enough about a story to put their hands into their pockets. I will never take that for granted. I have enough to continue covering developments, attending court, reporting the inquiry at least for the rest of the year.
If the book ever turns a profit, that might fund future reporting. Let’s cross that bridge when we come to it.
Have you run a fund?
One thing I am becoming acutely aware of is that some people who are part of this story may get paltry redress, some will do very well, and some will fall through the cracks.
As we all now know, the law, in the wrong hands, can be arbitrary and unjust.
If I am in a position to do something, or bring others together to help deserving people who have no hope of redress, I will. To that end if you have experience of setting up a charitable trust or foundation and can chat through the practicalities/pitfalls of doing so, please get in touch.
The vindication of so many people (with so many more to come) and the sudden public/media interest in this story means that sources of money will pop up in strange places. Harnessing or channelling that towards those who are left behind will be a tricky job, but one worth thinking about now.
I was discussing it with a few like-minded folk the other day – we could be trying to set up an organisation which gives money to convicted criminals or the families of convicted criminals, or Subpostmasters who have lost everything, but who for some reason fallen outside of the schemes which have been set up to help them. This sort of stuff needs robust articles of association, procedures and governance, which is not exactly my area of expertise. It might come to nothing, it might come to something – but right now I don’t think there is a fund for Subpostmasters other than one run by the NFSP, and I know several people would feel uncomfortable about donating or applying to it for that reason.
I just want to end with a quick couple of articles brought to my attention today. Here is something in the Law Gazette by a retired district judge having a go at his profession over the scandal and here is a piece in the Independent by the amazing Cathy Newman (off of C4 news) having a go at her profession.
I’ll be back with a newsletter tomorrow on the other media announcement and any feedback I get from those moles in the audience with the Prime Minister. If it happens.
Final score 6-2!!!!